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Gigantic Blood-Red Moon Eclipsed: 27 September, 2015

September 26, 2015

Now we get a special celestial treat: a total lunar eclipse, a supermoon, a harvest moon and a blood moon, all rolled into one. 

harvest-moon-deer-ireland_Anthony Lynch_9-19-13

Irish harvest moon & deer (Anthony Lynch 9/19/13 from

Total Lunar Eclipse
27 September, 5:11 PM – 10:22 PM, PDT.
Maximum at 7:47 PM. Duration 5 hours, 11 minutes.
The plane of the moon’s orbit is tilted 5.1° with respect to the plane of the earth’s orbit around the sun. Thus the moon’s orbit intersects the plane of the earth’s orbit at two points, called lunar nodes. The moon passes through both nodes monthly. Solar eclipses occur when the new moon passes through a node; lunar eclipses occur when the full moon passes through a node. These nodes precess (move backwards) around the ecliptic over an 18.6-year cycle; every 1.5 years the nodes move into the preceeding constellation (e.g. from Gemini into Taurus).

[Note: The equinoxes (vernal and autumnal) themselves precess over a 26,000-year cycle. Every 2167 years, on average, the vernal equinox (March 21) moves into the preceeding constellation. This creates the various astrological ages such as the widely-ballyhood “Age of Aquarius,” the beginning of which was in great dispute between various astrologers. Equinoctial recession also creates the astrological problem of constellations out of sync with the astrological signs. Tropical astrologers use signs based on the equinoxes and solstices; for them Aries begins on March 21, the 1st day of spring. Sidereal astrologers, including the Hindus, use the constellations; for them Aries begins on April 15, 25 days after the vernal equinox. But you knew that.]

The moon’s orbit is not a circle, but an ellipse, with an average distance of 238,000 miles. The farthest point is the apogee, the closest is the perigee. At perigee it appears 7% larger and 16% brighter than the average moon and 14% larger and 30% brighter than the micromoon (at apogee). When a total lunar eclipse occurs during perigee, it is called a supermoon, a phrase coined in 1979 by astrologer Richard Nolle, who defined it as when the moon is within 90% of perigee. By this definition, there have been 6 supermoons in 2015. The technical name is the perigee-syzygy of the Earth-Moon-Sun system. Ocean tides are higher during supermoons, lower during micromoons.

Full Harvest Moon – 27 September, 7:51 pm.  Traditionally, this designation goes to the full moon that occurs closest to the Autumnal (Fall) Equinox.  At the peak of the harvest, farmers can work into the night by the light of this moon. Usually the moon rises an average of 50 minutes later each night, but for the few nights around the Harvest Moon, the moon seems to rise at nearly the same time each night: just 25 to 30 minutes later across the U.S., and only 10 to 20 minutes later for much of Canada and Europe. Corn, pumpkins, squash, beans and wild rice — the chief Indian staples — are now ready for gathering.

Blood Moon
The rusty-red color of the eclipsed moon is often called “blood on the moon,” but there is another, more esoteric definition. About 1/3rd of lunar eclipses are total. Total eclipses also come in lunar tetrads, four eclipses in a row, 6 months apart. October’s lunar eclipse is the 4th in such a tetrad: 15 April 2014, 8 October 2014, 4 April 2015 and 27 September 2015. As usual, the human penchant for finding personal meaning within environmental events having nothing to do with them is fully operational, and many people see all sorts of religious, mystical and apocalyptic meanings in this sequence of events. This tetrad (in the order given above) coincides with Jewish holidays: Passover, Sukkot, Passover and Sukkot. That the Jewish calendar, including its holidays, is lunisolar – primarily lunar but corrected for actual year length by periodically adding days – seems to be overlooked. Important holidays tied to seasons and moon cycles will of course regularly fall on full moons and lunar eclipses.

Nevertheless, sages find meaning here. “Not only does God’s name have four letters, but it was on the fourth day of creation that God created the sun and the moon, establishing them as signs to mark sacred times, such as the Festival of Passover,” usefully explains Gidon Ariel of Root Source (quoted in Washington Post). Mark Blitz of El Shaddai Ministries says this tetrad of blood moons were partially meant as divine warnings to President Obama about his Middle East policy. “The moons are like flashing red warning lights at a heavenly intersection saying to Israel as well as the nations they will be crossing heavenly red lines, and if they do, they will understand as Pharaoh did on Passover night 3,500 years ago that the Creator backs up what He says.” And thank you for sharing that.

But wait, there’s more!  Megachurch pastor John Hagee, believes that this particular blood moon closely precedes the Rapture of Christians, Armageddon and the second coming of Christ. If you recall, less than a week ago we alerted you that the Apostacy was scheduled for the autumnal equinox, because the rapture – yes, that rapture – must be preceded by this Apostacy. Well, the equinox came and went and I didn’t notice any out-of-the-ordinary-apocalyptic events. Did you? [The Washington Post seems to be a great source of apocalyptic information.]

There will be seven more tetrads in the 21st century. Previous lunar tetrads occurred in 1967, 1949, and 1493; there were none at all from 1600 to 1900. No doubt events of unbelievable cataclysmic proportion occurred – and will occur – at those times.

Well, whatever. Don’t miss the full, eclipsed, super, blood moon. Maximum is at 7:47 PM PST. The closer the moon is to the horizon, the bigger it looks.

Interesting & useful factoids on moon averages:
Apparent width of the moon (full or otherwise):  1/2 degree.
Time one full moon to next full moon:  29.5 days
Angle moon moves in 24 hours:  12.2 degrees
Time for moon to move it’s own width (1/2 degree):  59 minutes
Thus, on average, the moon takes just under an hour to move it’s own width. When trying to estimate the size of something, compare it to the moon, a known quantity. – A handy site for a googolplex of moon facts.

The next significant full moon will occur on 27 October, 5:05 a.m. PDT.

Harvest moon information comes to you courtesy of: written by Joe Rao.
[Chuck Almdale]

  1. September 26, 2015 7:09 pm

    Very enlightening statement about moon facts at this time of year. Many thanks. Did the
    writer mean to use astronomer rather than astrologer? Regards, Jack Sanders


    • Chukar permalink*
      September 27, 2015 5:37 pm

      No, all my references to astrologer, astrological, etc. were meant as such. I doubt that any astronomers think that the “Age of Aquarius” is a real thing, and so on. I studied astrology intensively many decades ago – a utter waste of time, IMHO – and ran across the arguments between practitioners of sidereal and tropical astrology. The astrology you see in the funny papers every day is rudimentary tropical astrology. When the “Age of Aquarius” hit the newspapers in the 1960’s there were many complaints from various astrologers: some said it had started in the 1800’s, some said 20th century, and some said as far off as the 26th century. All expert opinions, of course, much like the endless stream of end-of-the-world predictions based on dingbats’ fanciful readings of the Apocalypse of John in the bible. Humans are experts at finding meaning where none exists, which is my current opinion in a nutshell of astrology.


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